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Walden Tries Again to Reform FCC

Subcommittee attempts to streamline the agency’s reporting obligations and speed decision-making

FCC reform is on the minds of House lawmakers. Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden has slated a hearing this week looking at proposals to modernize commission processes.

The chairman of the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will have members review discussion drafts similar to bills that passed the House last Congress to streamline the FCC’s reporting obligations and hasten the agency’s decision-making while reducing regulatory burdens on the companies it regulates.

In 2012, the GOP-controlled House approved the FCC Process Reform Act (H.R. 3309) and the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act (H.R. 3310). Taken together, the bills would consolidate the number of reports the agency needs to submit to lawmakers each year on the industries it regulates, as well as establish more shot clocks for proceedings along with publishing the full text of a rule for public comment before a commission vote.

NAB supported the measures, which, Walden said at the time, would “help our oversight responsibilities and help reduce costs.”

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said at the time the bills would modernize the commission’s reporting obligations to reflect the convergence that has taken place in the communications marketplace and at the same time ensure that policymakers receive information critical to making data-driven decisions.

The effort went nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate. 

Witnesses for the Thursday hearing include former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, Free State Foundation President Randolph May, author and Internet industry analyst Larry Downes, George Washington University Law School Professor Richard Pierce, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners General Counsel Jim Ramsey and Duke Law School Professor Stuart Benjamin.